A 19-year-old Chinese by the name of Han Yue managed to silence the home crowd in Lucknow as she effected a major upset in the final of the Syed Modi Open on Sunday, beating world No 9 Saina Nehwal in straight games.
Han, ranked 27th in the world, had lost in the finals of the Macau Open and Vietnam Open earlier this year, but got third-time lucky and ensured her season will end on a high, with a gold medal after beating an Olympic medallist.
The 28-year-old Nehwal, playing in her 16th tournament of the season, was not moving well, as Han began the match well. Nehwal still managed to take a two-point lead into the first interval and stretched it to 17-12, before Han launched a comeback. The Chinese won nine of the next 10 points to win the first game 21-18 and silence the home crowd.
Han grew in confidence after winning the opening game and brought forth a superb net game to take a 11-6 lead in the second game, as the match edged closer to an upset. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Nehwal completely disintegrated after the interval, as she went on to lose the game 8-21.
Earlier in the day, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty squandered four game points against world No 7 pair Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto to lose 11-21, 20-22 in the men’s doubles final.
After a tight start, the second-seeded Indonesians started pulling away from Satwik and Chirag in the first game. Leading 11-6 at the break, Alfian and Ardianto kept it flat and fast, as they raced to a 21-11 win to take the lead in the match.
The Indians started the second game a lot better, with Chirag doing well at the net to set up Satwik’s smashes from behind. They led 8-3 at one point but the Indonesians managed to crawl back and make it 9-9.
In the women’s doubles final it was back-to-back silver medals for Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy as the duo went down in straight games against the world No 19 pair from Malaysia. The Indians, ranked 25th in the world, lost 15-21, 13-21 in the final against Malaysia’s Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean.
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